Many couples want to take a holiday or have weekends away before the baby is born. 'Babymoons' have become very popular, especially for first time parents. However as a general rule, pregnancy is not considered a great time for travelling. You must consult your doctor before you travel, especially if your pregnancy is considered high risk, or you have experienced complications. It is generally recommended that pregnant women do not travel to tropical areas within developing countries and to try and limit any travel within the last six weeks of their pregnancy.
Is there a better time to travel during pregnancy?
The best time to travel is usually within the second trimester of pregnancy. Early nausea has usually settled by then and most women are still reasonably comfortable with regard to their size. The baby isn’t so close to being due that enjoying a holiday is out of the question and your belly will still be reasonably contained.
Do your research before you book your trip. Some travel insurers will not cover you beyond 24 weeks. Some airlines will not fly you beyond 36 weeks for single babies and 32 weeks for multiples.
Where possible, plan your travel arrangements to allow for frequent breaks. Being able to get up and move around, access a toilet easily and do some stretching will make the extra time getting to your destination worthwhile. Sitting still for hours on end and having restricted movements will not only be uncomfortable but is not recommended. Generally, a couple of hours is sufficient time for a pregnant woman to be sitting in one position before she needs to get up and move around.
Wear comfortable, easy clothing which has some give in it when you travel. It is common for feet and ankles to swell a little after sitting still and not walking around.
Some people (mistakenly) believe that the low pressure within air cabins can initiate labour. When combined with the comparatively low oxygen levels within the aircraft, this makes travelling by plane something to be avoided where possible. On both counts this is wrong. The baby is protected by its mother’s thick, muscular uterine wall as well as the buffering properties of the amniotic fluid. Your own body will adjust to the pressure and atmospheric changes in the environment so your baby will not be compromised.
Making comfortable seating arrangements takes on a different priority when you are pregnant. It may even be worthwhile considering an upgrade from your usual seat location, making this money well spent. Don’t be afraid of asking for a free upgrade at the check-in desk if you can. Citing your pregnancy as a reason may just be enough to ensure a more comfortable flight.
Many airlines place restrictions on pregnant women flying if they have complications or are carrying a multiple pregnancy. A medical clearance from your maternity care provider may be necessary.
What about blood clots?
Where you can, book an aisle seat so that it will be easier for you to get up and walk around. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), blood clots and embolus are more common during pregnancy and one of the most effective ways of preventing it is walking. Stretching, wriggling your toes, drinking plenty of fluids and wearing non-restrictive clothing will also help.
Some women with varicose veins are advised to wear support hose. These help to improve circulation of the blood back up the legs. They also prevent swelling and pooling of blood in the lower limbs. Check with your maternity care provider if you would benefit from wearing them.